The most important thing to remember in this Kim Davis mess

I wasn’t going to say anything about Kim Davis, partly because everyone is talking about her, and partly because I do not want to give her any time or attention out of my day. But then something happened. 

My girlfriend and I were enjoying the sunset in Vermont, eating an ice cream cone and taking selfies. The usual. A man approached us and asked if we wanted him to take our picture. We politely declined. He smiled and said, “I just love taking pictures, especially for family.”

I was touched by the sentiment, but more powerfully I was reminded of the importance of looking out for one another and caring for one another. We’re family. And we need to keep watch over each other in these moments.

There’s a lot I would love to say to Kim Davis, mostly about how her interpretation of the Bible isn’t correct simply because she says so, but it would fall on deaf ears, and I just don’t have the energy today.

What’s more important is that the fact that people are rallying behind her ignorance validates her beliefs and creates room for more hate. The intense focus on Rowan County as the battle ground for “religious freedom” not only gives a platform to discrimination, but places LGBTQ people in a vulnerable place concerning mental health.

A 2010 study concluded that “living in states with discriminatory policies may have pernicious consequences for the mental health of LGB populations.” According to that study, anxiety disorders were higher for LGB people in states with bans on marriage equality than in states which had marriage equality laws.

Of course, everyone should now technically be able to get married, but a further study revealed even more concerning results. In 2014, the same researcher, Mark L. Hatzenbuehler, released another study demonstrating that living in communities in which anti-gay sentiments are prevalent actually shortened the life span of LGB people, with suicide being particularly common. “LGB respondents living in high-prejudice communities died of suicide on average at age 37.5, compared to age 55.7 for those living in low-prejudice communities.” In addition to suicide, homicide occurred at three times the rate in high-prejudice communities compared to low-predjudice communities.

Beyond laws, these studies show that community climate matters. And in moments like this in which there is an increase in hate speech and biogtry in the national spotlight, we have to look out for one another. Too many trans women have already been lost to violence, and too many LGBTQ youth have taken their own lives. Think about LGBTQ people in your life this week, and send some love. You never know who that could save.

Header image credit: ABC News


Katie Barnes (they/them/their) is a pop-culture obsessed activist and writer. While at St. Olaf College studying History and (oddly) Russian (among other things), Katie fell in love with politics, and doing the hard work in the hard places. A retired fanfiction writer, Katie now actually enjoys writing with their name attached. Katie actually loves cornfields, and thinks there is nothing better than a summer night's drive through the Indiana countryside. They love basketball and are a huge fan of the UConn women's team. When not fighting the good fight, you can usually find Katie watching sports, writing, or reading a good book.

Katie Barnes is a pop-culture obsessed activist and writer.

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